Throwing in the towel and Caining My Memory Lane
Well the Giants have finally given in to certain fans' request for the Giants to forget about this year and look to next year. I guess they finally figured out that if they can't get closer with the guys they got, they may as well go with youngsters. They traded away Deivi Cruz to the Washington Nationals for an A-ball RHP, Benjamin Cox, and Christiansen to the Angels for a AAA LHP Dusty Bergman (supposedly the reason Sabean did the trade) and RHP Ronnie Ray.
From the AP report:
- Benjamin Cox, RHP, is 23 and was 4-4, 3.00 ERA, .224 BAA, 7 saves in 41 relief outings with 52 K's in 63 IP for Class-A Savannah.
- Dusty Bergman, LHP, is 27 and was 8-5, 3.25 ERA, 8 saves in 44 relief outings at AAA Salt Lake. Sabean noted that he will probably get a call up once the roster expands on Sept. 1st.
- Ronnie Ray, RHP, is 21 and was 7-6, 4.40 ERA, 1 save in 39 games at two levels of Class-A ball.
Too bad the Rangers claimed Tomko else he would probably be gone as well, damn them. I put a curse on them for that, we could have gotten a prospect for him if they didn't do that punk move, I hope all their acquisitions turn out as well as Chan Ho Park did. They aren't even competitive for a playoff spot either, what a little league move they did.
I guess we will be seeing the youngsters a lot more now, particularly Linden and Cain and the relievers, as we got a bullpen to fill next season and only Benitez and Walker are signed, Eyre will become a free agent and probably test the waters, though it sounds like he wants to return (then again David Bell told us fans not to worry in a radio interview but was lying through his teeth).
Caining My Memory Lane
Cain pitched Monday, going 5 IP, only 3 hits and 2 ER, though 4 walks and 2 strikeouts, getting the loss as the Giants lost 2-1. He had a lot of good moments, as reported in the news, particularly his 14 pitch battle that he won with Todd Helton. He did a heck of a lot better than the pitcher he replaced, Brett Tomko, did, certainly, and certainly gave a lot of hope to Giants fans everywhere about his future.
That got me thinking about the debuts of past Giants phenoms. These are all top of mind, I'm not going to strain my memory thinking of every phenom that came our way. Foppert did OK in a relief appearance but nothing he did excited fans other than wondering where his vaulted velocity went (and we're still looking). Williams did nicely for a little bit before unraveling, but had a great first season. Salomon Torres was put into the frying pan immediately and ruined for about a dozen years, before he somehow resurrected himself as a good setup reliever for the Pirates (well, no pressure there...). But then we got Estes for him and he did real well for us, almost up to until he became eligible for free agency, but lucky for him he had that great season and is a lefty, else teams would not be giving him any chance at all. John Burkett came up with zero reputation, I wondered why they bothered bringing him up, but they did and he had a nice first outing and he eventually became a nice starter, lasting many years, and more importantly, netted us Rich Aurilia in a trade, snookering the Rangers out of a nice prospect for a pitcher who wasn't even in our plans anymore.
Then I kind of blank out on first outings and remember general stuff. Mark Grant never did much of anything for us and ended up becoming a nice reliever for the Padres. Mike Remlinger never did much of anything for us and ended up becoming a nice reliever for the Braves and Cubs. Terry MulHolland gave fans a rare treat, a rare play in baseball history: fielding a batted ball, can't remember if bunt or dribbler, he couldn't get the ball out of his glove so he did the next best thing, throw the glove to firstbase, which got him the out. But he ended up being a nice reliever for a string of teams as well. Dennis Cook never did much of anything for us but became a nice reliever for a long series of teams, he even got the last laugh on us, helping the Angels in 2002 before they beat us in the World Series, though he didn't make the playoff roster because the Angels cheated the system and brought up Francisco Rodriguez in September before loopholing him into a playoff roster spot. Not that I'm bitter or anything. :^(
Scott Garrelts did pitch pretty well but wasn't that hyped up coming up that I can recall but he ended up being a nice reliever for us, then a nice starter, but nothing really special, journeyman in stature though he could bring it when he was on, coming within an out of getting the Giants first no-hitter, against the Reds, since John "the Count" Montefusco no-hit the Braves. Trevor Wilson did have a lot of hype but never did much of anything for anyone; I think he became a coach for the Giants in the minors for a while. Kelly Downs also had a lot of hype and took forever to make the team but never lived up to it, he didn't become a reliever either. Bill Laskey had a nice start. He pitched a shutout, 7-0 win if I remember correctly. But it was all downhill, basically, after that, short career. Atlee Hammaker started nicely too but it was all downhill skiing after Fred Lynn Grandslammed him in the All-Star game and he faded away quickly. Mark Davis came up and did really well for us, after we got him as a throw-in in the Joe Morgan trade, but he eventually became an elite closer for the Padres before fading off into the sunset.
Then there are the ones I followed first, the ones I listened to at night while I was suppose to be sleeping but had my authentic Japanese transistor radio under my pillow (for that I thank my uncle for giving me). John "the Count" Montefusco was and is one of my favorites. I can still remember Al Michaels (yes, that Al Michaels, he was our TV announcer for one magical season) calling the game, I can still remember the first time he used that nickname for Montefusco, in his first game, calling him that after Montefusco hit a homerun in his first official AB (he got a walk in his first AB); that must be how that guy, Chris Berman of ESPN, who would devise nicknames for every player based on his name got that idea since he is a Giants fan as well. I loved following him, counting up his strikeouts, seeing his name on the league leader lists, rooting him on to strike out another guy (since the team wasn't really going anywhere). And he was a total character, I loved it when they interviewed him after games.
Ed Halicki was another youngster who came up and did well. Back then there was little news on prospects except during spring training but even then I didn't have a clue who the Giants best prospects were. So Montefusco came up and Halicki came up and I had no idea how good they were or weren't, not like today. Halicki paled in comparison with Montefusco, in exploits, in personality but he has the last Giants no-hitter at home, in Candlestick against the Mets, and he did it before Montefusco did his. It was a day game and I was outside playing while also listening but once it reached the middle of the game, I came into the garage and listened to the rest of the game with my head close to radio, as if for extra emphasis, I mean I could have just turned up the volume instead. He also struck out a lot of batters but not as much as Montefusco and did OK for his career but not as much as Montefusco. But I liked him too.
Then I thought the Giants would have a great rotation for a long time when Pete Falcone came up and did well. He and Montefusco would seemingly duel during the summer, one would strike out a lot then the other would, though Falcone wasn't good enough to continue that. Then he was traded just like that to the Cards for Ken Reitz, and though I was sad, I liked the trade, but then we traded Reitz back to the Cards for another pitcher - I would have rather kept Falcone.
Then we brought up Bob Knepper and that got me excited about the future of the rotation. He pitched well initially but then had a couple of bad years, and I guess the team gave up on him and basically gave him away to Houston, don't remember who we got but of course Knepper was a mainstay of the Houston rotation for the next ten or so years. It was very bittersweet every time he pitched against us for Houston.
That's what I love about baseball, the history, the personal history, remembering touchpoints in the past, remembering a time when you were young and didn't have to think about grown up stuff all the time, when you could enjoy the simple joys of listening to a great game of baseball on the radio, then right afterward, listening to Jerry Gordon's Golden Age of Comedy on KSFO, which always followed every night game. I killed many a set of batteries leaving my radio on trying to finish listening to the comedy classics that played.
By the way, the Giants beat the Rockies to win a series at home again, after sputtering all season long until August, where they went 8-7 at home. They used to totally rule at home but I guess that is the advantage of having the only player in baseball who could hit extremely well at SBC, Barry Bonds. The news tonight said that he is hoping to join the team next week when they face LA - good timing, we could still pass them and the D-backs up for 2nd place in the division if we could just get a good win streak going. Which is a good thing to still strive for, they give the 2nd place team more money from some pool of money than they do 3rd place, that could get us a utility player or reliever or something.
The starting pitching has been very good for a while now (and Lowry has been great) but the offense has been sputtering for a long while now, after Winn got cold and stopped hitting like he was on fire. When they couldn't win with him hitting like that, that was not a good sign that they could get back into the race. But if the offense can get going and Cain can continue to do well, the Giants could easily take 2nd place then see what happens, the Padres have been scuffling too with injuries and stuff, so you never know.